Ten ways to give back this Christmas

Last updated 05:00 18/12/2010
Natasha Martin/The Timaru Herald
FOOD FOR FAMILIES: Salvation Army's Edwina Herring puts the finishing touches to around 150 boxes for needy families in the Timaru area.
SPCA, Pixi
Yvette Batten/North Taranaki Midweek
FURRY CHRISTMAS: Don't forget the SPCA this Christmas. Pixi is from an SPCA in Taranaki and is looking for a new home.

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For many of us Christmas has become all about the gifts, the food, the summer holiday.... But it is possible to give something back this Christmas. 

Here's Stuff's top 10 ways to give back:

1.) Give your time. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, resthome or hospice. Such places rely on caregivers who also need a break over the summer holidays.

2.) Donate to a foodbank. City missions or the local Salvation Army are a good place to take a food parcel. Many provide families with Christmas Day packages which include treats, so don't limit your donations to tinned food and other staples. The SPCA, which often gets unwanted pets after Christmas, is another deserving place to take donations.

3.) Get your gifts wrapped by a fundraising stall. Many charities, including Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington, are providing gift-wrapping in exchange for a gold coin donation. This writer is wrapping outside Borders on Wellington's Lambton Quay this Sunday!

4.) Buy charity Christmas cards or gifts. Oxfam offers its unwrapped gift service where you can purchase "presents" such as goats, ducks, or seeds for planting. The recipient then receives a voucher stating the gift they have donated.

5.) Swap Secret Santa for Charity Santa. Instead of spending $5 on some unwanted item for a colleague why not get everyone in the office to put $5 in and then put their name and chosen charity into a hat. Who-ever's charity is selected then gets all the money to donate to their selected cause.

6.) Clean Your closets. Do your children have toys or clothes that have been sitting, untouched, for a few years? Why not give these items to a charity store so other children can benefit.

7.) Visit a neighbour or elderly person. Christmas can be a lonely time, especially for the elderly living alone. Why not pop next door and say 'hello' and while you're at it see if you can help with the Christmas shop, or perhaps posting some cards.

8.) Offer to babysit for friends or family so they can have a "date night" or a bit of a break from the kids during the busiest time of year.

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9.) Make a New Year's resolution to get more involved in your community. Sign up to coach a local sports team, dog walking for others or tutor kids with their exams.

10.) Do a random act of kindness! Buy some scratch tickets, pop them in an envelope with "Merry Christmas" on the outside and deliver to people on the street with a big smile.

- Stuff

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